Parents of Conn. Teen Killed in Accidental Shooting Propose ‘Ethan's Law’ - NECN
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Parents of Conn. Teen Killed in Accidental Shooting Propose ‘Ethan's Law’

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    Parents of Guilford Teen Want Law Changed After Shooting

    The parents of Ethan Song, the 15-year-old Guilford High student who died after accidentally shooting himself, want changes to the gun laws in Connecticut.

    (Published Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018)

    A Guilford family is calling for stricter gun legislation after their teenage son died in what police are calling an accidental shooting.

    On Tuesday, Kristin and Mike Song held a news conference to propose new legislation they said would close a loophole in a state law and require all guns to be properly stored as well as amend rules on when a firearm must be secured.

    The legislation, named Ethan's Law, is in memory of their son, 15-year-old Ethan Song, who died in a shooting in January.

    A report released by the Waterbury State's Attorney's office last week says its investigation determined Ethan accidentally shot himself in the head with a .357 magnum handgun and called the death a “horrific and preventable tragedy.”

    Ethan and another teen were at a home on Seaside Avenue, with no adults present, at the time of the shooting, police said.

    The state's attorney report revealed the gun had been stored with other firearms in a cardboard box inside Tupperware in the master bedroom closet.

    And while there were gun locks and no signs the firearms were loaded, investigators learned the keys and ammunition were also hidden in the closet.

    The report concluded the storage of the weapons did not break the law and it’s led some to believe the law has a loophole that needs to be closed.

    The Ethan's Law bill would close a perceived loophole in Connecticut law that prohibited prosecutors from charging the owner of the gun Ethan shot himself with.

    "Ethan's law removes the loophole that says it's all about who loaded that gun. Unfortunately, in many of these cases, you can't prove who loaded the gun so it muddies the waters and nothing happens," Ethan's father, Mike Song, said.

    State Rep. Sean Scanlon, D - 98th District plans to announce Ethan's Law during the 2019 legislative session.

    “Ethan’s Law will promote safe gun storage, which will reduce tragic accidents, teen suicide, school shootings and gun theft. It will save lives by motivating parents to consider the many ways that young people can access the family’s guns versus merely asking, ‘Did I unload my gun?’” Mike Song said.

    "By just removing the word 'loaded' out of the current statutes and creating Ethan's Law, we can really focus on what's important, what matters most, which is how those guns are secure," he added.

    After the news conference Tuesday, Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, a guns rights group, issued a statement, offering sympathies to the Song family and urging that in addition to securing firearms all parents should make an effort to understand that “firearms can be deadly if handled improperly.”

    “There are tremendous programs out there that teach firearm safety to children of all ages; often at little or no cost. Along with the securing of firearms in a responsible manner, proper firearms education is imperative to the safety of children. Even if parents don’t own firearms themselves, children should still be taught what to do if they encounter a firearm without parental supervision,” Wilson said in a statement posted on the CCDL website. 

    “We thank Ethan’s father for acknowledging that there may be times that gun owners may also need to gain access to their firearms immediately to stop home invasions or protect loved ones,” Wilson’s statement goes on to say.

    Wilson, who said he had been shot decades ago, said his organization partners with an organization to help get gunlocks distributed and he will be meeting with Representative Scanlon this weekend.

    In a video posted on social media last week, Mike Song blasted the decision not to prosecute the gun owner, Dan Markle.

    “It’s time that when someone is reckless, negligent, when someone endangers children that they be held accountable,” Mike Song said.

    NBC Connecticut reached out to the attorney representing Markle, who responded, "Until pending litigation is resolved, the firm will have no comment.”

    The Song family has started a foundation to honor Ethan and the next step is turning their loss into political action.

    “I will honor Ethan through action. I will fight for all children impacted by gun violence and work tirelessly to ensure that no other child dies because of unsecured guns and my hope is no other parent will have to walk this heartbreaking journey,” Ethan’s mother, Kristin Song, said.

    “I’m going to tell you one thing -- I’m going to see this through. We’re going to achieve something for Ethan that’s really going to be a miracle,” Mike Song added.

    Guilford police finished their investigation into Ethan's death and arrested a juvenile, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter.

    Because of the suspect’s age, very little information is being released.

    Police added the juvenile who was arrested on Monday also faces a reckless endangerment charge for an event before Song’s death.